UCL English


Professor Mark Ford



Email: m.ford@ucl.ac.uk

External phone: 020 7679 3129

Internal phone: 33129

Office: Foster Court 236


Mark Ford

Education and Experience 

Mark Ford was born in 1962 in Nairobi, Kenya. He went to school in London. He has a BA and a DPhil from the University of Oxford. In the academic year 1983-84 he was a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard University, and from 1991 to 1993 a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Kyoto in Japan. He has published four collections of poetry: Landlocked (1991), Soft Sift (2001), Six Children (2011) and Enter, Fleeing (2018) and a Selected Poems (2014). You can hear him read a selection of his work on the Poetry Archive here and on YouTube here. He has also published a biography of the French writer Raymond Roussel (Raymond Roussel and the Republic of Dreams (2000)), a parallel text edition of Roussel’s final poem, Nouvelles Impressions d’Afrique / New Impressions of Africa (2011), and a translation of a selection of Roussel’s short stories and drafts (The Alley of Fireflies (2018)). He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books, and his reviews and essays have been collected in three volumes: A Driftwood Altar (2005), Mr and Mrs Stevens and Other Essays (2011) and This Dialogue of One: Essays on Poets from John Donne to Joan Murray (2015), which won the Poetry Foundation’s 2015 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism. His anthology London: A History in Verse was published in 2012 and is now available in paperback. His most recent monograph is Thomas Hardy: Half a Londoner (2016). He is currently at work on a second book on Hardy to be called Woman Much Missed: Thomas Hardy, Emma Hardy and Poetry.

Research Interests

Mark Ford has published widely on nineteenth-, twentieth- and twenty-first century British, American, and French literature. He is particularly interested in the work of the New York School of Poets and has published editions of the poetry of John Ashbery and Frank O'Hara. He is also interested in French literature and is the leading Anglophone expert on the work of Raymond Roussel. Subjects of recent essays by Mark Ford include Ted Hughes, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, W.H. Auden, Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Hart Crane, Nicholas Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Marilynne Robinson, Flannery O’Connor, Randall Jarrell, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, James Fenimore Cooper, Georges Perec, Javier Marìas, Bob Dylan, Vladimir Nabokov, A.E. Housman and Philip Larkin. He is one of the literary executors of the poet Mick Imlah and has edited a volume of Imlah's Selected Poems for Faber & Faber. He has also recorded (with Seamus Perry of Oxford University) a highly-acclaimed series of Podcasts on 20th-century poetry for the London Review of Books. Poets discussed by Ford and Perry include Adrienne Rich, Stevie Smith, Robert Lowell, Thomas Hardy, Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop, Philip Larkin, W.H. Auden, A.E. Housman, Wallace Stevens, Louis MacNeice and Seamus Heaney. You can access these podcasts here.

Mark Ford's publications and research interests nearly all relate to the Department's research themes: the City, Editions, and Intercultural Exchanges. He has published extensively on New York-based poets from the advent of modernism to the present day. London is another focus of interest: his anthology London: A History in Verse includes over 700 pages of poems inspired by the city, from John Gower to the 21st century, while his monograph Thomas Hardy: Half a Londoner is the first full-scale exploration of the importance of London to Hardy’s career and writings. He has published editions of Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery (he is the editor of the ongoing Library of America edition of Ashbery’s work), James Schuyler, Kenneth Koch, Raymond Roussel and Mick Imlah. The importance of intercultural exchange is foregrounded in many of the publications listed below.

Selected Publications


Six Children
Thomas Hardy Half a Londoner bookcover
London A History in Verse book cover

Landlocked (Chatto & Windus, 1992, rpt. 1998)

Raymond Roussel and the Republic of Dreams (Faber & Faber, 2000 / Cornell University Press, 2001)

Soft Sift (Faber & Faber, 2001 / Harcourt, 2003)

A Driftwood Altar: Essays and Reviews (Waywiser, 2005)

Six Children (Faber & Faber, 2011)

Mr and Mrs Stevens and Other Essays (Peter Lang, 2011)

Selected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2014)

This Dialogue of One: Essays on Poets from John Donne to Joan Murray (Eyewear Press, 2014, pb. 2015)

Thomas Hardy: Half a Londoner (Harvard University Press, 2016) 

Enter, Fleeing (Faber & Faber, 2018)

Editions, Anthologies and Translations

No Name by Wilkie Collins (Penguin Classics, 1994)

Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (Penguin Classics, 1999)

‘Why I Am Not a Painter’ and other poems by Frank O’Hara (Carcanet, 2003)

John Ashbery in Conversation with Mark Ford (Between the Lines, 2003)

Something We Have That They Don’t: British & American Poetic Relations Since 1925, co-edited with Steve Clark (University of Iowa Press, 2004)

The New York Poets: An Anthology (Carcanet, 2004)

The New York Poets II: An Anthology, co-edited with Trevor Winkfield, (Carcanet, 2006)
Frank O’Hara: Selected Poems (Knopf, 2008)

Allen Ginsberg: Poems Selected by Mark Ford (Faber & Faber Poet-on-Poets series, 2008)

John Ashbery: Collected Poems, Vol. 1, 1944-1990 (Library of America, 2008, Carcanet 2010)

Mick Imlah: Selected Poems (Faber & Faber, 2010)

New Impressions of Africa by Raymond Roussel (Facing Pages Series, Princeton University Press, 2011)

London: A History in Verse (Harvard University Press, 2012)

John Ashbery: Collected Poems, Vol. 2, 1991-2000 (Library of America, 2017, Carcanet 2018)

The Alley of Fireflies and Other Stories by Raymond Roussel (The Song Cave, 2018)

Selected Articles and Chapters in Books

‘Genius in its Pure State: The Literary Manuscripts of Raymond Roussel’, London Review of Books, May 22, 1997, reprinted in A Driftwood Altar.

‘Mont d’Espoir or Mount Despair: Early Bishop, Early Ashbery and the French’, PN Review 114, Vol. 23, no. 4, March-April 1997, reprinted in A Driftwood Altar.

‘Inventions of Solitude: Thoreau and Auster’, Journal of American Studies (1998) 32(3): 201-219, reprinted in A Driftwood Altar.

‘A Wide and Wingless Path to the Impossible: the Poetry of F.T. Prince’, PN Review 147, Vol. 29, no. 1, September-October 2002, reprinted in A Driftwood Altar.

‘James Schuyler and Englishness’, Poetry Review, Vol. 92, no. 3, Autumn 2002, PN Review 114, Vol. 23, no. 4, March-April 1997, reprinted in A Driftwood Altar.

‘Trust Yourself: Ralph Waldo Emerson and Bob Dylan’, in Do You, Mr Jones?’ Bob Dylan with the Poets and Professors, ed. Neil Corcoran, (Chatto & Windus, 2002), reprinted in Mr and Mrs Stevens and Other Essays.

‘Elizabeth Bishop at the Water’s Edge’, Essays in Criticism (2003) 53(3): 235-261, reprinted in A Driftwood Altar.

‘Love and Theft’, London Review of Books, December 2, 2004, reprinted in A Driftwood Altar.

‘Elizabeth Bishop’s Aviary’, London Review of Books, November 29, 2007, reprinted in Mr and Mrs Stevens and Other Essays.

‘Nicholas Moore, Wallace Stevens and the Fortune Press’, in Wallace Stevens Across the Atlantic, eds. Bart Eeckhout and Edward Ragg (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), reprinted in Mr and Mrs Stevens and Other Essays.

‘Michael Hofmann’s London’ in The Palm Beach Effect: Reflections on Michael Hofmann, eds. André Naffis-Sahely and Julian Stannard (CB Editions, 2013).

‘City of Pain: The Poetry of James Thomson’ in The Oxford Handbook of Victorian Poetry, ed. Matthew Bevis, (OUP, 2013), reprinted in This Dialogue of One: Essays on Poets from John Donne to Joan Murray.

‘Who Seekest Thy Woob: Samuel Greenberg and Hart Crane’ (New Walk, 2013), reprinted in This Dialogue of One: Essays on Poets from John Donne to Joan Murray

‘Joan Murray and the Bats of Wisdom’ (Poetry, 2014) reprinted in This Dialogue of One: Essays on Poets from John Donne to Joan Murray


For reviews by Mark Ford go to the archives of the London Review of Books http://www.lrb.co.uk/, the New York Review of Books http://www.nybooks.com/, the Times Literary Supplement http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/archives and the Poetry Foundation https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/mark-ford

For critical essays on his poetry see John Ashbery: Selected Prose (ed. Eugene Richie, pp. 231-236 and pp. 291-293) and The Ocean, The Bird and the Scholar by Helen Vendler (pp. 274-288 and pp. 389-398).